Monday, October 4, 2010

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps
Released: 2000
Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle
Run Time: 108 minutes

"Out by sixteen or dead on the scene, but together forever"

One of, if not the best Werewolf movie I have seen. Sisters Ginger (Ginge) and Bridget (Bee) are outcasts but they don’t care they relish in it. The sisters are obsessed with death and are always pulling off elaborate ‘death shoots’ mocking up horrible ways to die.

One night everything changes when Ginger is attacked by a creature in the night, soon she begins to change and Bee tries to help her sister get back to normal with the help of Sam a shady yet misunderstood character who knos a thing or two about Lycanthorpy.

The bond between the sisters is tested throughout the film and by the end one sister has to make the ultimate choice her life or her sisters, that culmanates in a harrowing ending not seen in many films of this genre.

The main draw to this film is the lead actors, Emily Perkins (mentioned in my last post as being the standout in IT) and Katharine Isabelle are amazing and I am amazed that neither has had that much mainstream success.

The other is that akin with Dog Soilders (another of my fav Werewolf films) there is no CGI only costumes and make-up to create the Lycanthorp form of Ginger its much more satisfying and terrifying then CGI.

I love how this film uses Lycanthropy as a metaphor for growing up and not the main focus of the film; the issues dealt with in this film are done ten times better than most straight ‘coming of age film’ out there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Released: 1990
Starring: Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O'Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Curry
Run Time: 192 Minutes

"You wanna a balloon Georgie"

Without a doubt on of my all time favourite films (Don’t start I know it was a TV movie but it still counts as a movie), based on my favourite book by Stephen King, I first saw this film when I was five and it gave me nightmares, I read the book for the first time when I was 18 and it gave me nightmares after that went back and watched the film again and found how much I loved it.

This films main theme is fear and overcoming it, the villain of the piece is a menacing entity know only at first as ‘IT’ who can take the form of your worst fear, but for most of the time he stalks the town of Derry under the guise of ‘Pennywise the Dancing Clown’ (here in lies my fear of clowns) he is the eater of worlds and of children who appears every 25-30 years to feed and with It’s ascent so comes a veil of violence and hate over the town.

It is set in the summer of 1960 and the ‘present’ day 1990 in the small township of Derry, Maine. The protagonists of the film are the "Losers Club" (Bill, Beverly, Richie, Eddie, Ben, Stan, and Mike) a group of outcasts who slowly gravitate towards each other and find comfort, acceptance and safety with each other, as they all have encountered ‘IT’.

Although the film is based in the horror genre it also deals with issues such as poverty, racism and domestic violence.

The child actors are the standout in this film (particularly Emily Perkins and Jonathan Brandis) as I truly believed in their friendship and the bond that ultimately saves them.

The other standout is Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise, he is quite terrifying in this role all the little details his movements his voice all add up to a chilling performance.

The movie follows the novel almost to the letter, small things are missing and one major point is changed/left out, possibly it wasn’t allowed for in the budget or maybe to hard to interpret faithfully to the screen, either way as a lover of the book I didn’t find it at all

I could talk about this film forever but i wont all i will say is RENT, BUY OR ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD IT WHATEVER IT TAKES BUT SOMEHOW SEE THIS FILM

Follow Me To It On IMDB

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Other

Released: 1972
Starring: Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris & Martin Udvarnoky and John Ritter
Run Time: 108 Minutes

"It was only a game. We were playing a game, Doushka, like all the other games that we play. Only the time has come for all the games to stop. It is wrong, you see? Dangerous."

It’s the summer of 1935 and 9 year old twins Niles and Holland Perry live with their family on a Connecticut farm, during the depression era. Their loving grandmother Ada has taught them something called ‘the game’ which allows their imagination become reality. A number of accidents begin to occur, and Niles begins to wonder if Holland is responsible. Soon after Ada begins to see the truth and she is the only one who can stop this macabre game of murder.

This film employs the classic good twin bad twin plot and to be honest in my opinion the only one that pulls it off. The movie begins well has an amazing twist in the middle and finishes strongly, unlike most in its genre the bulk of the film is shoot in daylight matched with its innocent but eerie score adds another facet to the film and makes it all the more sinister. It will definitely mess with your head and have you going back to the point of that intelligent (some might see it coming but I didn’t and I usually do) twist just to make sure you heard right. The Other will stay in your head whether you want it to or not.

Follow Me To The Other On IMDB

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Heathers

Released: 1989
Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker
Run Time: 102 Minutes

"Dear Diary: Heather told me she teaches people 'real life.' She said, real life sucks losers dry. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly. I said, so, you teach people how to spread their wings and fly? She said, yes. I said, you're beautiful."

So you thought the Plastics were Mean Girls? You think the 'Flawless Four' would break your jaw if you dared question them? Well the the Heathers would eat them alive they are so very. The dark dramadey stars our favourite klepto Winona Rider and Christian Slater.

The it clique are the "Heathers" three girls all named Heather and Riders character Veronica, they are the most popular girls at school who rule with a well manicured fist and intimidation, not being named Heather means Veronica must work extra hard to keep her spot in the group as Heather Chandlers (Heather Number 1) protege. Veronica soon tires of the pointless surveys and unprovoked attacks on the socially challenged and is drawn to the new rebel in school J.D (Slater).

A bit of harmless fun turns sinister as the most popular kids in school start committing 'Suicide' with a little help from Veronica and J.D. Veronica comes to realise she is in way over her head, is it too late for her to stop and make things right?

This gives us a perfect insight to high school life, it is a very true (albeit somewhat exaggerated) interpretation of the struggles faced by teens. Every detail even down to the colour of the clothes each character wears is a statement about their nature (follow this link to the Wikipedia page that explains this) it was way ahead of its time and is still relevant now and probably will be in another twenty years. I really love this film for its dark humour, well rounded characters and amazing script filled with classic lines that just define ones teen years.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Craft

Who is this? Thats right good readers of POV music lover That Boy James is now an author, the lovely Jess has kindly allowed me to post my little movie rants on her blog which would just be out of place on mine, much like my own music blog it will just be short reviews of some of my favourite movies. Enjoy

Released: 1996
Starring: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell. Rachel True
Run Time: 101 Minutes

"Watch out for the weirdos, girls. We are the weirdos, mister."

In my view the only movie about witchcraft that doesn’t resort to stereotypes and tired story lines to portray the ways of the witch. New girl at school Sarah falls in with the (surprise, surprise) outcasts of the school Nancy, Bonny and Rochelle who dabble in the dark arts discovering that Sarah is a natural witch they quickly form a tight coven. The ever present struggle for power is rife in this film as the covens actions don’t sit well with Sarah. She tries to distance her self from them only to drawn back in for a final showdown. A very slick and edgy film which portrays so well the angst of being a teen with a magical twist.

Side Note: You know I have to talk about it the music and whats used here just adds that extra facet to the film, that feeling of not abiding (How Soon is Now is a good example of this) to the social norms and the angst of growing up whist being different. Also you cant go past that distinctive 90's sound, my four favourites from this soundtrack are Sick Child by Siouxsie & The Banshees, Scorn by Portisehead, How Soon is Now by Love Spit Love (No match for the original by the Smiths) and I Have the Touch by Heather Nova.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Comic Book Heroes

The recent release of Iron Man 2 has provoked me to look at the phenomenon surrounding comic books being made into films. Films based on best-selling comic books have two options to either fail or succeed, those successful tend to have hyper special effects and those that fail are ones that fail to construct the lovable storyline and continue the themes and characteristics that made the comic so great. Since before 2000 Hollywood has entrenched the superheroes and their ideals of keeping society true of accepting all those whether they wear a purple skin tight spandex suit, a bat mask or are able to drain the life of another through touch. These superheroes are not all born with supernatural abilities, they become the hero by a traumatic experience such Tony Stark in Iron Man, Peter Parker in Spiderman or a less conventional hero in Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to the poor. I will discuss a multitude of comic book film adaptations including pro-heroes and anti-heroes or ones that challenge society’s ideal of what it is to be a superhero?

Comic book heroes can be separated into two categories, those that have super power and those that are heroes but use devises and gadgets to outwit villains. X-men and Superman will be used to demonstrate those who do have supernatural abilities. The phantom, Watchmen and Batman will demonstrate those who are heroic just not through powers.

Each comic book has the basis of Good versus Evil and the films highlight that point by the actions or darkness that surrounds those who want to doom the world. A great representation of this is the hugely successful franchise, X-men and spin off such as X-men origins: Wolverine. The first film made in 2000 was an adaption of the much loved story created by Marvel Comics which made the progression to cartoon and the cinema. The story follows mutants who through a gene have abilities beyond the reach of normal humans. These abilities have led to their isolation as society does not accept their unique nature. Through this comes the evilness or supposed evilness of Magneto a mutant who wants to kill humans as they are unappreciative of the mutant population. On the good and forever good is Charles Xavier a leader for mutants and host of a school that houses those with special abilities which exclude them from normal education. The first film is dedicated to the battle between Magneto and Xavier and the fact that they both have teams of mutant who do battle but this changes in the second film were they band together to rid off a foe. William Stryker is a character that forces the mutants to work together as he recreates Cerebrum and emulates a female version of Wolverine. These films come to an end in the Final Stand were the power of Jean Gray destroys Xavier and husband Scott leading to the ultimate battle of the Golden Gate Bridge were those who were young in the first film become the heroes in the last. The amazing elements of these films is how they use special effects and creative ways to add to the greatness of the characters. The claws of Wolverine, the laser of Scott’s eyes, the tongue of Toad, The lighting of storm and the amazing first scene of the first film were we see Magneto reach is arms and the fence break down. A tribute to the story and marvellous characters that add to the nostalgia of the comic and cartoon.

Another beloved comic book character that has made its way to the big screen and a television show is Superman. Clark Kent assumes his superman identity when innocents are in danger but he like x-men characters was born with unique abilities to fly and have ultra strength but like all heroes he has his weaknesses. Those include kryptonite and in the films Lois Lane and in the series Lana Lang. One of the elements that makes superman recognizable is his outfit which famously has the underwear on the outside but also for the fact that when he does change persona’s he wear no glasses and his hair is parted differently. Commonly known as ‘the man of steel’ superman is the most popular superhero for Halloween but also promotes the values and morals a hero needs to have from his wholesome upbringing on the farm to being a reporter of the daily planet. Like all superheroes Superman has a love which is what keeps him grounded, Lois Lane is a continuous interest in the comic, film and television series. Similarly this tactic of one true love is used in many comic such as the Phantom but even more so the Batman franchise.

Batman also known as Bruce Wayne is in costume from head to toe in Black, cape and mask as he save the citizens of Gotham from sadistic villains wishing to freeze, poison and destroy. During the 90’s there were multiple movie surrounding Batman and his counterpart Robin but in the 2000’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were released showing the darkness that surrounds the man who fell down a hole which had bats. The most recent release the Dark Knight included the Joker and at the end Two face but it also established how far the technology used in Batman has come along. The Bat Mobile looks like a military tank ans his weaponary is no longer obsolete its hard and fast gadgets. The idea of Batman is his like a vigilante but is supported by cops as his Bat symbol shines on the roof of their headquarters, he promotes safety and heroism meanwhile having his rich persona out hanging with the ladies. Like x-men there are characters that keep Batman grounded such as Rachael his childhood sweetheart but also Alfred the humble but tough Butler who keeps the Bat cave up to speed and reminds Batman that this world is nothing without honesty and dignity and he must inhabit that in order to protect it.

A film that differs technology wise is the 1996 hit The Phantom. The simple plot explains the legend of the Phantom and the introduction of the three skulls which are the object of affection for those evil and good. The good versus evil relationship has three parties. The first being between the Phantom and Xander Drax a business man who has heard and wants the power of the three skulls and the second between the Phantom and the Singh brotherhood who are a pirate family who operate beneath a cave. Entwined in this story is a love that was lost and found through the heroic actions of Kit Walker who is the Phantom. Although Kit is mortal he has at his disposal on an island called Bengalla a wold named Devil and a horse named Hero who provide him with getaway and fierce attacks when needed. Also at his disposal is the use of the island where treasure hunters appear, so his not a conventional superhero but the acts and moral decency he inhabits make him a candidate in the superhero debate. The film holds true to the comic as the spandex and masks are exact replicas as well the skull ring which is the fourth skull needed to complete the force of power, the horse and wolf who are faithful to their master and the events which are not special effects but have the same effect because they hold true to the character and the traits that make the Phantom the ‘Ghost who Walks’.

Superhero films follow a precursor where their predictable but the film Watchmen released 2009 shows a different side to the hero dynamics. Watchmen originally a comic shows how sometimes to be good you need to be bad. The film follows a group who were a collective until they split and found their own identities which was to fall into society as another mundane working class individual, be a vigilante or in the public sector. Although the film follows many characters the most interesting are the comedian and Rorschach. The comedian who dies at the beginning is considered to be a suicide or a gang or politically linked but it is Rorschach who supposes something else is wrong when Dr Manhattan the Blue alien hero is accused of causing cancer. Although Rorschach seems to be good he can also inflict horrible pain as in the prison scene which contradicts the ideals of heroism is the idea is to protect those who use the extent of the law such as Superman but his Vigilante style sends a different message. It is said that Watchmen is an extradionary comic and for this reason it has the heroism audiences have come to know and rely on to escape into the world were heroes do exist is torn down by those who hide behind masks and were one the heroes and now the villains.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

90's Bad Fashion, Great Films

The 90’s saw the introduction of films containing further nudity and sexual references as well as the appeal towards those who like the CGI component to films and those who are into what happens after death. There were many directors who took the road to establishing a high basis for the performance of CGI animation within the industry. This new adventure allowed for films to become 3D and add different dimensions to characters and plots instead of the forwarded and conventional stories.

Included in this era are the films that emanated sexuality such as the 1990 release of Pretty Woman, telling the story of an overworked upper class man and a less than impressive prostitute who becomes the object of affection through providing a few nights of company. Following in 1992 was the controversial release of Basic Instinct which exerts sexuality non-stop, with Sharon Stone providing scenes that are x rated and very risky for the time of publication. These two films broke barriers in the case of ratings applied to films and the content shocked patrons through the overt presentation of strong, beautiful women who are absorbed in themselves more so then the powerful men that reign in these films.

These two films are great starters to an era were many breakthroughs were made including the blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park released in 1993 was the first to bring the element of pre-historic extinct creatures to life. The plot which surrounds two palaeontologists being brought in to oversee a project which has successfully created dinosaurs from a mosquito which was preserved. These dinosaurs live in enclosures but soon become too much and begin a hostile takeover by tormenting the team and the park for which is their home. Before this film learning about dinosaurs was limited to museums and books and the history channel but the movie brought to life what had not been done up to the point, introducing children to a virtual world off the names of dinosaurs if their carnivores or herbivores and the distinct nature of survival amongst their own species. It was to say the least a huge success and one that is remembered.

The 90’s were amazing in film production, directing and acting and was the era that provided a film that won all 5 major areas at the academy awards, Silence of the lambs which to this day is freakishly scary gave audiences a thrill in 1991. The film follows the story of Hannibal Lector played by Anthony Hopkins and his need and established fetish for cannibalism and on his trail is Jodi Foster who puts him behind bars but has no idea to the extent and depth that his madness goes. Great films succeed through how convincing they are and Hopkins adopted the persona and traits of the characters to add the believability to this onscreen maniac and scared many of the audience who have seen the entire film or even just snippets. Another masterpiece created at the end of the 90’s was The Matrix which has a difficult plot, great dialogue and the freeze frame moves you can see. The Matrix released in 1999 identified a world were nothing is as it seems and you can delve into reality or live in a futile fake world. Neo who the film follows chooses to go down the rabbit hole and have the real world unveiled to him. As the film continues their are moves were their fighting skills are shown and frozen to a point where you see them just in mid air, this seen has been used in films and a continuing theme through the Matrix trilogy.

These films mentioned above include special effects which no doubt adds to the consumer aspect of the film industry but in the 90’s there were some teen dramas that did choose to forfeit special effects. One of my fave teen films was the 1995 release of clueless, which exposes a culture within a Beverly Hills’ high school and those fortunate enough to have a motorized wardrobe. As Cher goes through the year she faces challenges such as getting her license, heartbreak, a makeover that turns ugly and finding two lonely teaches love. A perfect Friday night chick flick that never gets old. Joining my faves is the 1994 pee wee football movie, Little Giants which establishes that girls can do anything guys do and do it better. As a the small town of Urbania prepare for the battle of the O’Shea brothers who decide that theirs only room for one team those that can play and those that can’t. Becky the daughter of Danny and the niece of Kevin decides she has something to prove when her uncle does not let her onto the Cowboy’s side. A story that can hit home for many pre-teen and teen girls about self-belief.

90’s films although lacking the special effect elements of some of the contemporary films blurred lines and created controversies. Their elaborate storylines and emphasis on girl domination were inspiring. The fashion not so great but what era is? it provided a great paradigm to those film made decades before but still held onto strong female characters.